A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
November 27, 2007 Annapolis Confernce Comes and Goes
The Annapolis Conference has come and gone and it was a great little show. Does it mean anything? It probably means very little. It has bought a little time. The two sides agreed to enter into ongoing negotiations starting immediately. Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Chairman Abbas will meet every two weeks and a goal exists to complete negotiations in two years. So, officially for the first time in seven years, final status discussions will take place.
Olmert, however, covered his coalition posterior by stating that everything is dependent on implementing the road map, stopping terrorism, and the stopping firing of Qassams. Olmert can therefore tell Shas and Israel Betinu that nothing is happening. They will never be able to fight terrorism. Abbas can say that he is making progress and only his way will work. Bush looks like he is pushing the peace process, which is good for the US and of course good for the Saudis in their competition with Iran.
The bottom line is really simple. Does Israel take the risk of reaching an agreement with a very weak Palestinian leader? The images of large scale demonstration in the West Bank against the meeting do not bode well for Abbas’' staying power. What is the alternative?